A few weeks ago, I wrote about beginnings and how sometimes it’s hard to figure out where a story should really begin. The same is true of endings. Especially if you write in a genre where people have come to expect a sequel from all books. That’s not to say I don’t love a good series – I’m a huge fan of the In Death books by JD Robb/Nora Roberts and Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books. I’m not discussing series in this instance but stand-alone books that have two or even three chapters worth of information after the story is over and the quest is finished.
Sometimes, as epilogue is called for – wrapping up the last little bit of story, showing that happily ever after (or happily for now) conclusion. Most times, I find it to be like the prologue – good information for the writer to know but not really needed for the story to keep it’s flow and punch. Post climax, there shouldn’t be a huge chunk of story left anyway. Ending close to the punch makes it just a bit more memorable.
If you find yourself writing whole chapter after the end of your story, then your story isn’t over. Either you’re actually writing a series or you need to restructure your story to move the all important climax of your story closer to the end, where it belongs. That’s the greatest thing about the editing process, once you’ve got the whole picture in front of you, you can move elements around, increase tension in places, sprinkle in some foreshadowing to give your climax even greater impact for your reader.